Saturday, December 11, 2010

Must Reads

David Weigel: Heritage on the "Reagan Recovery"

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy, religion and politics

Jeanne Sahadi: Taxes: What people forget about Reagan

Bonnie Fuller: Sarah Palin’s Hunting Trip To Feed Her Family Cost — $42,400 or $141.33 per lb. of Caribou Meat!

Aaron Sorkin: In Her Defense, I'm Sure the Moose Had It Coming

Gail Collins: Falling Off the Bandwagon

Steve Benen: Quote Of The Day

Christopher Hitchens: Tee'd Off

President Obama's Weekly Address - December 11, 2010

Protecting the Middle Class & the Economy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Music Break! Celia Cruz


Sanders Filibustering Tax Cuts Compromise - UPDATED

Senator Bernie Sanders is currently in his fifth hour of speaking on the Senate floor filibustering the tax cuts compromised brokered by President Obama and GOP leaders. Whether you agree with the compromise or not, it's pretty amazing thing to watch. He started at 10:25am EST.

You can catch it on C-SPAN.

Of course, Bernie is completely right on every issue he's brought up. But it's a gamble with the proposals that help the middle class in the compromise, and if the Democrats opposed to this legislation are successful in blocking or defeating it, I hope they're right. I really hope they can do better.

ADDING... It's not technically a "filibuster" because there's no actual legislation the floor to block, but really, isn't he holding everything up anyway?

(H/T Bob Cesca)

UPDATE: As of 7:52pm EST, Senator Sanders is still going. I haven't seen anyone go this long in the Senate since I watched Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

They're So Godly

Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will be dispatching members of its congregation to protest the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards this Saturday, CNN reports.
..."When they were visited from the Most High God with the death of their 16-year-old son, they did not humble themselves before His mighty hand. They reared up in rage, decided they would show God who is boss, and meddled in matters of the womb, resulting in 2 more children -- now motherless."

GOP Blocks 9/11 Health Care Bill

Remember when going against anything 9/11 was labeled traitorous by the party that is now refusing to pass legislation on providing "medical care to rescue workers and others who became ill as a result of breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke at the site of the World Trade Center attack in 2001"?

Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, have argued that there was a moral obligation to assist those who put their lives at risk during rescue and cleanup operations at ground zero.
So just to recap, giving continued tax breaks to the top income earners in this country to the tune of $130 billion without concerns on how to pay for it is totally fine, but $7.4 billion for taking care of the heroes (and I don't use that word lightly) of 9/11 is just too, damned expensive.

And these are the people that some say would have caved in on extending unemployment insurance if the Senate forced a Christmas vote because they say they're not heartless? I wouldn't have counted on that.

Here's Jon Stewart's take:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I love charts.


And the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and CAP's Michael Linden (via Ezra) provided some goodies:

Is It a Scare Tactic?

So it would seem that President Obama has asked the Democratic Caucus to accept the tax cut compromise or face the possibility of a double dip recession, and more than once I've heard talking heads calling it a "scare tactic."

And just now, I received an e-mail from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

DEVELOPING: Today, President Obama told congressional Democrats to cave on the tax cuts and accept his "deal" or the economy will be crushed.
Seriously? That's the kind of scare tactics we'd expect from George W. Bush, not Barack Obama.
My question, which absolutely no one in the mainstream media has addressed, is this: Is it really a scare tactic? Really? Do you think this President would purposely mislead the public, or is he relaying what his advisers think will happen to the economy if nothing happens and we get hit with a tax hike on January 1? Do you think the President just wants this deal to go through just because he made it? Or do you think he felt the urgency to strike a deal after the Democrats in the Senate failed to deliver a vote on two separate bills, one to limit the tax cut to the $250,000 mark, and a second to limit it to $1 million. They both failed. Five Democratic senators voted against it, including intrepid progressive and lame duck Russ Feingold.

We hear all the angry talk on the liberal and progressive side on how Obama is shitting on his own base, yelling at them to shut the fuck up and deal with it; but where were those loud, angry voices when the Democrats pushed off the vote for the tax cuts to expire on the top 2% until after the election? Where were the mighty progressives jamming up the phone lines in the Capitol Building demanding to have that vote before the election as President Obama had asked? Where was the "caving" talk then?

Now the train has left the station, the Congress is in a lame duck session and in a couple of weeks we'll have a Republican majority in the House. And because Obama strikes a deal to temporarily extend the tax cuts to the rich for 2 years in exchange for a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a child tax credit increase, a payroll tax cut and college tuition tax credits, when no one really thinks of the deficit issue as a priority compared to job creation or the economy, now he's the enemy, now he's caving when he's the only one not playing politics with this issue.

On The Rachel Maddow Show a few nights ago, Rachel pinpointed video at the Obama press conference saying he'd have to take John Boehner "at his word" in reference to a question of raising the debt ceiling. Anyone knows if that doesn't happen, the US defaults on its loans and there is a global economic collapse. Boehner may be dumb, but he ain't stupid. And yet Maddow basically used this as a point of ridicule to show how naive Obama was to "trust" Boehner.

Today on the Thom Hartmann Show, Hartmann was miffed that Obama "caved" because already two Republican politicians whom he didn't refer to by name said that, of course they would have voted for an extension of unemployment benefits just before Christmas, they're not heartless after all. You mean the same Republicans that threatened to block all legislation in the Senate until the tax cuts issue was settled, those Republicans? So we can trust their word about a vote not taken after the fact, but Obama can't trust Boehner not to intentionally collapse the economy? Now you tell me who's being naive?

While I'm not thrilled with the concession (and neither is Obama, by the way), I am glad a compromise was reached. It was a compromise, not a cave. A cave gives you nothing in return. And I, too will take the president's word that come two years from now, he'll fight this again.

I hope that the Democrats who are not bringing this plan to a vote can really make something happen - and as co-contributor Jennifer said in a previous post, they'd better come up with something at least as good as what the President bargained for the middle class and unemployed.  Otherwise, they'll all have egg on their face and millions of people will be screwed.

To me, this was the health care fight all over again. I had a Twitter back and forth with Dylan Ratigan (of all people) back during the health care debate and I basically came to the conclusion that being in a position of already having health care, I can't morally fight against a compromised deal if it's going to give people access to health care that previously couldn't attain it. Who am I to put myself in a position to deny others? If that means forgoing the public option in the immediate future, so be it. (By the way, if you hadn't guessed, Ratigan's response was, "But the insurance companies blah, blah, blah! The banks blah, blah, blah!")

I feel the same way here. I can't say, "Fuck you! No deal! Vote NO!" when I know that 2 million people will lose their unemployment benefits and everyone else will have their taxes raised when it won't readily affect me. If my taxes were raised, I could survive it. A lot of people can't. And I'm not going to stand on my ideological pedestal at their expense.

Not Even Gonna Vote


The House Democrats won't even bring Obama's tax compromise to the floor for a vote. Talk about chicken shit.

Here's my message to Republicans, oops, I mean angry Democrats:

So what's the plan? How are we going to get all or more of what Obama got us? What's the plan? And how realistic is the plan? How non-naive is the plan? What are WE going to give up to get the Republicans to give up something? Remember who the Republicans are, what their goal is and tell me what the damn plan is to get ALL of what WE want. You showed you have balls. So how are you going to keep them from getting chopped off and fed to us? WHAT'S THE PLAN!?

And what will YOU DO if we lose even one fraction of what Obama got us? If we lose the child tax credit increase? If we lose the payroll tax deduction? If we lose even one month of unemployment extension? What THEN? What if you don't get us anything else? WHAT THEN?

I sure as hell hope you guys succeed -- for America's sake. But if you lose one ounce of what Obama got us, this will be ON YOU and all the people who supported this.

You sure as hell better get this done! And equal to or better than what Obama got us. GET IT DONE!

And keep in mind angry Dems, if this practice in pissy negotiation fails, there's NO GOING BACK to Obama's plan. The Republicans will not go back. So if this is having "balls" tell me how balls are going to put food on a family's table. Are we going to eat your balls when they get chopped off?

This is utter bull fucking shit!

(Oh, and in the meantime, tell me how we get DADT and the Dream Act now!?!?!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Music Break! John Lennon

Jealous Guy

30 Years Ago Tonight

This is how I found out John Lennon was dead.


They don't even know what they're fighting about.

Michele Bachmann is the latest member of Congress to demonstrate that she does not completely understand unemployment legislation.
..."As part of the compromise, the President wants to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months," Bachmann said. "Unemployment benefits are already at a historical length of 99 weeks, and the President's request would push benefits to three years."
Problem is, the president's request would do no such thing. It would preserve the 99 weeks by reauthorizing Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs, which together provide up to 73 weeks of benefits beyond the standard 26 funded by states.
...Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) made a similar mistake on the Senate floor last week. "This is about people who have been collecting unemployment benefits for 99 weeks," Barrasso said, incorrectly.
Entirely clueless and railing against something on which they don't even know the details.

Listen to the President First Hand


At 6:00pm Eastern, in about ten minutes (although these things are always late), the President will be speaking to his supporters via Organizing for America. I will be listening. I hope you can listen, too.



DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL and DREAM ACT VOTES TONIGHT!! Get out of your funk Dems and focus on what we need to focus on! Call and email Congress to get the votes we deserve. Especially focus on Susan Collins and Scott Brown.

What happened to my sabbatical?


Whenever I max out and want to get away from all of the political madness, I feel compelled to fight for MY core values. And, believe it or not, my core values are the same as the President's and NO they are not the same because I am some blind, loyal, lemming robot. Why I am loyal to the President is because he DOES share my core values. Why would I not agree with the very things I think and say? There is this odd assumption out there that people like me don't form our opinions until Obama says what those opinions should be. No. I form my opinions continually. I am a rather stubborn and dramatic person. But when I evaluate what I think about an issue, it's evolving based on new input, new facts, forcing myself to see other perspectives. And you know, I am pretty fond of that value. I enjoy knowing that I developed my own thinking. Obama may influence portions as do many Senators and friends and family and, yes, even journalists. And guess what? That's what the President does. He is consistently absorbing and seeing.

But that process is seen as something weak by the very people who I feel are the real culprits of blind, loyal, lemming-like robotery. Yes, I made up a word.

I have written several times about the course Democrats take along the message train. Democrats are called asses for a reason -- they are stubborn. The problem is that Democrats dig their heels in before they even leave base camp. We pride ourselves on being the smart party. The reasonable party. The compassionate party. Well, for the last two years, I feel fewer Democrats have actually acted out those values.

Let's look at what our party has become and where we are on this tax cut debate.

Democrats have been calling their own President spineless, weak, ball-less, Bush-like, a sell-out, a Republican, a traitor. The DEMOCRATS have called him that! THE DEMOCRATS!!

They have pretended that they are doing their civic duty of questioning the President. They have said they are only doing what he asked of them, to keep him honest. To watch him. They say they are fighting for the middle-class and poor while he is fighting for banks and big business. They say he hasn't acted fast enough, strong enough, exactly as they want enough, on EVERY GODDAMN ISSUE. EVERY ONE.

They tell him to "fight" but can't define what they mean. They want him to be a different person, as if he campaigned as someone else. They then mis-remember who he was during the campaign and have actually turned on him because he didn't turn out to be the actual Messiah. I wonder if he isn't more of a Job. Taking punches, facing unrealistic demands with only the reward of further challenges.

So when the President was bluntly asked what his core values are because Democrats want to know, he unleashed hell. And I was thrilled. This man has taken hit after hit from his own party despite his major successes and consistent progress. He has been verbally pummeled by voters who have placed themselves on a pedestal above God because they think they are the sole reason he is President in the first place.

Now, what's most telling in all of the coverage for the last, not even, 24-hours, has been the wounded left. Poor babies. Just like when they flipped out over the "professional left" comment, which I also cheered, Democrats are ignoring the articulate, rational, detailed and compassionate reasons Obama laid out for his tax compromise. They have IGNORED the benefits to the very people we say we protect as one of our core values because he yelled at them. They even ignore the fact that he was pretty cutting toward the Republicans as well. The President said that protecting the wealthiest people's tax cuts is the Republican party's "holy grail". Dang, that was pretty harsh (and true). But Democrats are so busy pouting that they are missing the opportunity to highlight the fact that he just said the opposition puts the wealthy above all else.

In the meantime, the Senators from Vermont and several key Democrats in the House and Senate are saying they can get something better. Well, they voted last Saturday and didn't get anything better. In fact, in addition to the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the "rich", Obama got more benefits for the middle-class and the poor than the House and Senate did last week.

But Democrats are ignoring all of the details. In fact, Democrats are doing what we often accuse the Republicans of: voting against our best interests. Obama made a two-fold promise: not raise taxes on the middle class and to allow some tax cuts for the wealthy go away. He went beyond on the first promise by actually LOWERING taxes for the middle class. And he has delayed his second promise.

Now, some say that by delaying the second promise he is giving the Republicans a chance to make the big tax cuts permanent. Why? Because they will have the House starting in January? Well, OK, but on the issue of making expensive tax cuts permanent they won't have the Senate or the teabaggers and OBAMA HAS VETO POWER. Sadly, our party is too busy running in circles yelling and crying that they can't see that.

They can't see that this compromise has shitty parts but it also has wonderful parts we didn't imagine being there. But instead of taking the time to understand that, people are angry and distracted.

Now the media is saying that "Democrats" are mad. I correct them: SOME Democrats are mad. The rest of us, those who are as valuable to the base as the Jane Hamshers and Adam Greens and Paul Krugmans and Bill Mahers and Keoth Olbermanns see clearly the situation at hand. WE see the compromise as a necessity that actually helps those we care about most.

What disgusts me THE MOST, the thing that makes me really hate the shit coming out of the left is the MANY comments I have read in blogs, articles, seen on cable TV, etc is the WILLINGNESS of DEMOCRATS to say, "let it all go and let America see what the Republicans really are". Our party has the gall to question the President's core values yet they are willing to throw every unemployed American and every middle and lower-class family who NEEDS the Bush and Obama tax cuts off a cliff to make a point! Yet, when he calls them out on that, they can't see how absolutely hypocritical and vengeful they are being at the expense of the core values they falsely claim as theirs and theirs alone.

How dare any Democrat question the President's or my core values while they are spitting on their own.

I have to say, though, the funny thing is that the Democrats with their chests puffed out may be loud, but I don't think they are the many. I am seeing more Democrats like me fighting the good fight and not the knee-jerk fight. I see more Independents saying that Obama is doing the right thing and love that he is telling the angry left to chill out. Some think he is losing "his base". Well I am his base and he hasn't lost me. And I think that he is actually building his base with people who think the angry left need to be put in their place.

I'd like to add that not only are we getting MORE from this compromise than the Democrats in Congress were able to get us, but we KNOW that Susan Collins is willing to vote to repeal DADT but only AFTER the tax cut situation is resolved. We have Republicans holding up REAGAN'S START Treaty because of this. The American tax payers are not the only "hostages" here. And all the "purists" need to remember that we have DADT in the first place because Bill Clinton had to negotiate. I'd say that negotiation tool was far worse than ANYTHING we have here. It's taking today's negotiation to get rid of that monster.

And in closing, to all the people who think they can negotiate better than Obama I say I think you would walk onto a Lexus car lot and sputter off in a Gremlin and you'd think you got a great deal because you only paid $2. Obama is getting us a brand new sedan. We have to take out a loan but at least we can get to work and we will be able to pay off the loan early once the paychecks start rolling in.

EDIT: A new Gallup poll shows that most Americans support the compromise. I hate polls because what will happen is that the people FOR the compromise will laud this and the people opposed to the compromise will ignore it. Then another poll will come out saying the public doesn't support the compromise and the players will flip. Angry Democrats celebrated polls that showed support for the public option but will ignore this completely. THAT is why I hate polls. But I wanted to point this out to raise a "watch the fun that ensues" flag.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

"If you're of the mind that the economy needs all the extra help it can get right now -- and you should be -- this is a lot more extra help than anyone expected Republicans and Democrats would agree to give it. And from a political perspective, if you believe that what matters for elections is the economy -- and you should -- then it's worth it for the White House to lose news cycles in 2010 if it means adding jobs by 2012."

~Ezra Klein, on the tax cut compromise

Thank you, Elizabeth. And farewell.


Elizabeth Edwards has passed away.

Ass-Kicker in Chief


The President took to the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room today to answer questions about his tax compromise and as the briefing progressed, so did his anger. Granted some people never realized that he has some asses to kick on the left so now many are outraged and quite upset that he could possibly chew their asses. But, hell, when you question the man's values based on some narrowly confined spectrum of liberal idealism that excludes the ideals of fellow Dems, well then, you're going to get some of that fight you've been demanding. It's funny how many Dems said he needed to grow a pair and are now pouting because he called them out. Looks like those big, tough liberals are the real pussies. Can't take a lecture from the President, eh? Tough shit. Grow a pair and grow up. ;)

I, personally, LOVED his take down and was sure to email and call the White House with my support of his compromise and the press conference.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Here's the video.

Stupid People

You can't charge someone with treason against the US government if they're not a citizen of the US. Morons.

Sanders to Fight Tax Cuts Compromise

Yesterday on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Senator Bernie Sanders said he would do all he could to prevent the tax cuts compromise bill brokered by President Obama from passing, but didn't use the word "filibuster" when asked.

"I think it is an absolute disaster and an insult to the vast majority of the American people,” Sanders told Schultz, adding that Democrats opposed to the deal “are right. We're talking about social justice. They're talking about more tax breaks for billionaires who don't need it.”
While Sanders did not explicitly say he would filibuster the bill, he made his intention clear, saying, “I've got to tell you, I will do whatever I can to see that 60 votes are not acquired to pass this piece of legislation.”
While I agree with President Obama's position that he cannot play with the lives of 2 million people whose unemployment benefits would expire at the end of the year like the Republicans are doing, someone has to draw the line somewhere.

 My only disagreement in the President's statement yesterday was his assumption that after two more years of Bush taxs cuts for the wealthy, the public would come to realize that they are unsustainable and want them expired.

 Two points: 1 - He's assuming that the general population is intelligent and pays attention to these sorts of matters, and 2 - the public is already aware that keeping the tax cuts in place for those making over $250,000 yearly would add $70 billion a year to the deficit and the latest poll shows that 67% of those polled think the tax cuts should expire for those making over $250,000 or expire altogether.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Favorite Comedian

My Manifesto


I am admittedly NOT a presidential scholar. Aside from not being alive longer than the last six presidents’ terms, I have only become a serious observer of politics in the last five years. In that time I have become a mom, volunteered for a number of organizations reaching across issues I knew little about prior to my assistance, and tried to just keep up with the topics of the day. In NO WAY could I add to my list of priorities the self-education of every presidency prior to my birth, nor the presidencies of my infancy, adolescence and teenage years at times in my life when that type of subject was nowhere near important. So, with that said, I am not able to go toe to toe with anyone on what FDR, Truman, Carter or Reagan did on any given maneuver or policy fight.

But what I can say is this: I would bet that most people who make comparisons to Obama and any other President aren’t as knowledgeable on the analytics as they may like to sound. It is easy to say, “Obama needs to go all FDR on the Republicans” because it sounds good and you could probably find hundreds of blog posts, articles and Daily Kos diaries stating the same idea. But how many of the people who wrote those actually studied FDR and truly understand the nuances of his deal-making, his compromises, his obstacles and his political ammunition? How many people who make such easy statements actually have the capacity to compare with such certainty as to summarize the current President as a failure based on the FDR metrics? How many of those people are able to take scenario A of FDR and properly compare it to scenario A of Obama and not only zero in on the exact similarities but also be able to make enough matches with such similarities as to be able to make a complete judgment that the scenarios are so exact that the only outcome must be that Obama should take every identical step FDR took?

Even people who have been alive and aware during previous administrations don’t know any more of the inner-workings and logistical maneuverings that actually took place. Americans seem to think we know everything when actually, we don’t know shit. Because we read it somewhere does not make the information complete. We also tend to think that if we know A through G, then obviously the next letter is H. Well, that’s true of the alphabet but not politics.

I will concede that some of the authors of the “Obama should be FDR” pieces do know a lot about FDR. I am sure there are many who have read enough biographies and histories to have a fair handle on the situation. However, any one of them who then tries to convince me that the scenarios of each president are equal may have read history but are most definitely avoiding the reality that there is no possible way that any two scenarios faced by any two presidents can be exactly the same. You CAN NOT take a policy discussion or decision without seeing a million details that do not match history. Just as I could not figure out your ATM pin number without a multitude of potential combinations, far more possible mixtures of personalities, opposition, coordination, dollar amounts, concessions, conflicts, time-lines, external impacts, internal consequences, etc, etc, etc, mean that NO COMPARISON can be made that should or could form any judgment on the current president.

(By the way, you can substitute FDR for Truman or Carter or Reagan or Lincoln.)

Now, I am called naïve, a bot, a whatever Paul Krugman or Glenn Greenwald want to call me, but frankly, I find the naiveté in any person who thinks you can narrow an opinion of the current president down to a overwhelming simplistic and far-reaching avoidance of reality that the past is not the present. We can LOOK to the past for guidance but we can’t pretend that the past can be duplicated. In comparing Obama to any previous president is beyond simplistic and far-reaching, it is a stubborn avoidance of the frustration that HE isn’t the problem. Rather than deal with the reality of the actual problems we face, it’s far easier to say he isn’t being FDR enough. We may as well say he isn’t Atticus Finch enough. Because, although Atticus is a fictional character, the demand that Obama act exactly like another person in another time with different problems, different players, different options, is as fictionally-based as wishing he were someone who never existed. Although, technically, there was a real person Harper Lee based Atticus on, but you get my point.

SO, I do not accept any comparisons or evaluations of Obama based on prior presidents. If that’s all you’ve got, and if I were a professor, I’d send you back to rewrite your entire thesis and tell you to avoid the “Handmaid’s Tale”/”1983”/”Animal Farm” aspect of your analysis and give me your actual understanding of the options he actually faces, with the tools he actually possesses, against the challenges he actually has to overcome TODAY. THEN tell me, step-by-step and in non-black and white ways what he could have done and what he can do that would have made any other choices valid and more successful than he has been.

Let’s take the public option. Tell me how Barack Obama (and NOT FDR) could have succeeded with that. Base it on what he said and not what anonymous reports stated. Before making assumptions of what was said in back room meetings, before assuming reports are based in pure fact and no spin, look at the situation he was presented with. Consider the possibility he was on the phone every hour, talking with members of Congress (because according to the PBS documentary on the official White House photographer, Pete Souza, Obama was, in fact, on the phone more times than the media reported).

Next, consider the possibility that the media killed the public option. The American public was supportive early on. What happened? Things like “death panels” and “kill the bill” became the media focus. The media called the public option DOA long before Obama conceded, publicly at least, that it wasn’t going to survive. The very organizations who determine whether Obama’s message gets out to the American people pre-wrote history. They called it dead before anyone could actually make a dent in negotiations. In my honest opinion, that empowered the right by suggesting the possibility and by distracting the left from the discussion. The right pounced on the left’s key issue and the left freaked out over Obama. No one was left to fight the right and the lies were able to take hold in the American public.

Obama stayed on message but a certain faction of the left was so damn frazzled that we started running after our own quarterback and caused a fumble that was scooped up by the opposition who then ran to within field goal range. We won the game but barely. We would have creamed them had we protected the quarterback. But we lost focus of our priorities. Today, the law we have is helping me personally.

If everyone can pretend that they know what FDR would have done, then I suggest that people stop and consider that we would have had a public option today if the media had reported facts as opposed to speculation. We would have had a public option had Democrats held strong together and played the plays as planned rather than forgetting how to play altogether.

But would’ve, could’ve, should’ve aren’t relevant. I am saving money. My son is covered despite a pre-existing condition. My life is better because of what DID take place.

Now, without going issue by issue or point by point through the last two years, let me say this and ask that you apply it to all you have assumed, decided, declared:

What do you KNOW? Do you easily accept every report you read? Does any part ever sound just not right? Do you have questions that the report didn’t raise? And when you have that feeling, when you still have questions, what do you do with it? When you read another source that says the same thing, so you then say, “Aha, it must be true”? If you’ll recall, I have said that Republicans tend to think that if 100 websites say “bibbity bobbity boo in Kalamazoo” then it must be as written. It never occurs to them that all 100 sites using the phrase word-for-word means someone copied and pasted. 99 people copied the words of 1 person but the idea is still that first person’s. The other 99 stopped short of analysis and just repeated. THAT is not confirmation. It’s repetition. The Democrats don’t do that specifically. We don’t really copy and paste entire articles and try to pass that off as Woodward-style fact-checking. We’re too proud of our own writing abilities that we at least re-write what we read.

Democrats take an idea and revise, add their own flourishes, put their own voice to it and state it is absolute fact whether or not they ever put a second of their articulate genius toward actually finding out if that initial idea were true, unbiased or simply relevant. No, if an idea sounds kick-ass, Democrats rush out to tell the same idea in their own way without bothering to come up with an idea on their own. Inevitably, the writers who love to share other people’s ideas in their own words, accidentally slip up and start using the same words or phrases created by the first writer to summarize the situation. Presently the words are “cave” and “fight” although no one can truly articulate what either means to them. It’s really just a feeling. I remember the first time I saw “cave” used in regards to Obama and the Bush tax cuts. Now it is THE word used by all Democrats who don’t want him to but a cent or a day – even though they may not even know why a certain dollar amount is so sacred.

No one wants him to “cave” yet I’ve seen countless times where people have said they would be OK if the amount were raised to another number. How can we demand he not cave and then be willing to compromise on the number? It’s because the idea of him not caving sounds good but no one has really defined that meaning for themselves, let alone the masses of people who read that and revise that. The word has become overused by people who imprinted on it without analyzing the meaning. The same people want Obama to “draw a line in the sand” yet they really have no clue what or where the line should be, they are just certain that a line MUST be drawn. They are certain that they know a line is needed. To me, the demand is hollow without any true understanding of what the magic line should be.

Democrats don’t think beyond black and white any more than the Republicans do. For example, the federal pay freeze. The accepted assumption is that Obama froze federal employee pay to give, without a “fight”, some phantom concession to the Republicans. I have not seen, perhaps it is out there but I’ve missed it, the mention that over the last several months as the private sector has created jobs, the government has laid people off. Yes, we have had consistent job LOSSES in the government sector. To me, a pay freeze is the alternative to further layoffs of federal employees. And to me, it is a legitimate alternative. But the quick assumption was that Obama “caved”. Now, Obama did not give the reason I see in his speech. He didn’t say it’s to save federal employees from loosing their jobs. But right now we need him emphasizing job creation and not massive losses. He had to put a stop to the bleeding but Democrats won’t see that because that isn’t the message being fed. And in this case, although I wish he’d put that message out there, I can see why he won’t. But few Democrats will search beyond the blogs and articles and cable tv to find the meaning that makes sense.

In summary, I COULD go further point by point through the last two years and “prove” why Obama has stayed as true to his promises as the best presidents of our history. I could remind everyone that he has always said he is here to work with all, for all. I could point out the challenges he faces of Fox News and right-wing blogs and racism and corporate money and the Supreme Court, and on and on. But none of that is relevant to my overall point.

The overall point is that Americans stopped thinking for themselves. Today Obama was giving a speech on the economy. MSNBC cut away. CNN either cut away or never aired it. CSPAN wasn’t airing it. But was live-streaming it. And yet people say Obama doesn’t talk about the economy. This is one of a hundred speeches I have watched or listened to him give. He talks about the economy every day. Someone from his administration is talking about the economy every day. So why do people think he isn’t? It’s because the media controls the message and because Americans are too lazy to seek out the information. Americans assume that if the media isn’t bringing the information to them, it just must not exist. And when the media speaks, we parrot.

And then we blame the president for what we don’t hear or what we do hear.

So, perhaps I should have been clearer in earlier posts. Perhaps I haven’t put the correct message out there. Perhaps I am still failing. But I refuse to consider worthy a conversation with people who either live in a constant state of comparing two centuries, two presidents and two extremely complex realities who also rely on the very media we have all watched disintegrate over the last decade. Any Democrat who will pick and choose which articles must be true based on some in-grained cynicism or some need to justify their own desires to pretend as if they are all-knowing, are frankly, in my opinion, not a part of any solution. They may have access to, and more frequently use, real data and facts, but the spin they choose to place on the reality of today suggests to me they are as unproductive and obstructionist as Republicans.

What I look for in a true discussion is the lack of catch-phrases. If you use the buzzwords of the day, I can only assume you have either accepted others’ ideas without even applying your own verbiage. Or you have subconsciously adopted others’ thinking and therefore are going to be zombie-like in your debate. There is no getting through to the latter. So, I only want to discuss with people who have asked themselves how they formed their ideas, which sources they used, why those sources, and have they really sat and thought something through before taking a stand one way or another. If you are an expert on FDR and can tell me that 4 out of 5 scenarios of each debate Obama faces are 90% similar, then have at it. But if you’ve never actually studied the papers, letters, speeches, reports, etc. of FDR and can’t tell me with any certainty that 4 out of 5 scenarios of each debate are the same as what Obama faces now, then I don’t want to read the letters “F D R” in your response to me. (Again, you can substitute any previous president). Oh, and I should add, that when I hear journalists I actually respect say things like “Truman never polled the military” and then a month later say “when Truman polled the military” I call bullshit. And when I see other people parrot one or both of those talking points, even talking points from journalists I respect, I also call bullshit. When it comes to the DADT survey, it was NEVER about whether to repeal or not; the survey was to help the military effectively plan the repeal through effective policies and education. That is something we should honor – a prepared military. Instead, the media pre-misconstrued the report until they saw the results and have since done a 180 on the way they report on it. Thus, I see average Democrats doing the same. And that is one example where I say, unequivocally, that I have watched the media messaging seep into the subconscious of Democrats.

So, if you use any word of the day, convince me, in your own words, that you have thought through the situation on all levels. Show me devil’s advocate thinking and maybe then we can get somewhere. But if you tell me you think black simply because the media says so or because Republicans say white, and you can’t even comprehend gray in your logic, then I don’t have time for you.

I have spent HOURS developing my opinions, my perspective, my understanding. In all of this I have concluded that the media is mostly a rapid-fire, beat the next guy, soap opera. And sadly, many Democrats, who I expect to be smarter, fall for the agenda, messaging, tone and mood set by those we shouldn’t be accepting with such enthusiasm. Yet, Democrats pick up their language, mood, tenor and assumptions for no reason I can comprehend.

Anyone who parrots the media is not worthy of another moment of my time. I have serious thinking to do and only want to participate with serious thinkers. I have a lot to learn and expect only those with integrity to teach me. If you aren’t that person, I implore you to try to be that person. Change how you get your information. Change how you process it. Change why you believe what you do. And finally, find your own damn voice in it all. You don’t have to write or speak eloquently, but know that what you think and say is your own and not some media-tainted creation.

Wake up and rub the newspaper ink off your face. We all know what the media has come to. So why do you let it be your guide?

The Hitler Comparisons Continue...

... from an unlikely source.

Now, in Greenwald's defense, he was not comparing Obama to Hitler, as he said so repeatedly in defense of his tweet. He was just comparing the website owner to Leni Riefenstahl, the famous Nazi propaganda movie maker. But obviously, the logical conclusion to everyone except Greenwald, is that if he's comparing the website owner to Riefenstahl, then the subject must be...

Still, he stood his ground at least for a while with tweets like, "Nobody whose brain works thinks I compared Obama to Hitler. If I wanted to do that, I'd do it directly - & not deny it after" and " I've slammed the Bush-following Right for doing the same thing many times - of course, nobody among those weeping now objected." I'd like to see the tweet or article Greenwald wrote that comes close to comparing a Bush follower to a Nazi propagandist. Maybe he did, but I didn't catch it.

And what was Greenwald so disgusted about? A blog called The Only Adult In The Room, dedicated to daily Obama news, albeit positively spun, but in no way inaccurate or misleading in touting Obama's accomplishments. For example, his latest trade deal with South Korea that wasn't completed on his trip there and therefore labeled a failure by the mainstream media. Or perhaps it was the photos of joyous soldiers in the midst of their excitement to meet the President on his trip to Afghanistan. Maybe that's what propelled Greenwald to send his tweet. Are we not allowed to see that perhaps some members of the military are happy to see the President? That perhaps some of them are *GASP* Democrats?

I don't really frequent that site, but maybe I should every once in a while to see some positive news on our President instead of listening to how much of a failure he is 24/7.  Look, I get disappointed as much as the next liberal when I don't think things are going as well as they could be due to a certain White House decision or the perception of capitulation disguised in the form of "compromise," but maybe if the general public who doesn't follow politics on a micro level could see or hear something positive... or at least in a non-partisan manner, we wouldn't be talking about his approval rating daily (which, by the way, still happens to be higher than Reagan's was at the same point in his tenure).

Anyway, after all was said and done, I suppose Greenwald had received enough backlash to realize he was being a total dick and mistaken in the perception of his tweet.

Does anyone have a percentage of Greenwald posts or tweets that are negative as opposed to positive towards Obama? Does the President deserve credit for anything good that's happened these last two years? Unfortunately, the cat's out of the bag on this tweet and in my opinion, it hurt Greenwald's credibility and solidified the notion that he is against ALL things Obama.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Must Reads

Frank Rich: All The President's Captors

Gail Collins: Arizona Strikes Again

Thom Hartmann: Tax Cut Lies: The Day The News Died